Giants right-hander Julian Fernandez will undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area was among those to report. San Francisco previously placed Fernandez on the 60-day disabled list earlier this week.
The 22-year-old Fernandez has never even pitched above the Single-A level, nor is he a high-end prospect. But the news is particularly noteworthy because Fernandez was a Rule 5 pick last December, when the Giants snatched him from the NL West rival Rockies with the No. 2 selection. The fact that Fernandez will now undergo this procedure means he’ll rack up a year of service time and earn a a major league-minimum salary ($545K) in the process. As MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk noted earlier this week, that could be a minor nuisance for San Francisco, which has little wiggle room as it works to stay under the $197MM competitive balance tax threshold.
During 7 1/3 spring innings with the Giants, Fernandez yielded a whopping 11 earned runs on 10 hits and five walks, with an eye-opening 12 strikeouts. Fernandez was far more effective at preventing runs last year in 58 innings with the Rockies’ Single-A affiliate, as he logged a 3.26 ERA/3.09 FIP with 8.84 K/9 and 2.79 BB/9.